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Whooping Crane Migration

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Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:27 pm

For the last 8 years, a dedicated group of people have been trying to save the Whooping cranes by leading young ones down to Florida from Wisconsin behind ultra-lights planes.

There are already 2 populations of Whooping cranes in the wild, one that stays in Florida year-round and another that migrates from Canada to Texas. But the whole population could be wiped out if these 2 groups were caught in a hurricane or other disaster. So Operation Migration is trying to establish another population that winters in Florida and migrates north to raise their young. Here is some background about the project.

On Friday Oct. 17th, the newest group of young Whooping Cranes left Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, led by ultralights, on their migration to Florida. This year there are 14 birds.

Here's the migration map. They changed the route this year so they don't go through the mountains. It was difficult for the ultralights to get over the ridge. So they're going by way of Alabama instead of Georgia.


Here's the Field Journal, which has more detailed entries for each day of the migration, on days when they fly and when they don't.

The latest entry is for today,Tuesday Dec. 30th. They flew from Walker County in Alabama and will be in Chilton County next.

Here is the Photo Journal. There are photos from yesterday (Dec. 29th) and more, going back to the beginning of the migration in Necedah and even back to when the chicks were small.

MileMaker is one way that they can be sponsored by people who are interested. This project is very expensive and they need financial help. They added up all the expenses and divided that by the number of miles.

Another way to help it buy merchandise - here is the link for that.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:39 pm

The cranes have not been able to fly since Tuesday December 30th, 2008 because of weather and wind conditions.

But there are pilot's reports from the 2 days that they did fly last week. There are 4 ultralight pilots leading the migration. They take turns being lead pilot on the flights. Last week's lead pilots were Brook Pennypacker - who writes long and often humorous accounts of the flights (and the reports are usually late) - and Chris Gullickson. Here is the Field Journal, for anyone who would like to read the reports, or the other entries.

So far the birds have flown 813 miles. They are still in Alabama, but only have 2 more stops in Alabama, then 2 in Georgia, before they get to Florida.Here's the Migration Map.

Here are photos from the Dec. 30th migration flight.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:57 pm

Today's post for Monday January 6th, 2009 is about the last-minute weakening of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the Secretary of the Interior - Dirk Kempthorne. Despite over 250,000 comments opposing the change, many of them from scientific experts, the Bush administration is pushing ahead.

President-elect Obama and Congressional leaders oppose the changes, but it will be complicated to reverse the damage. To read more details about this, see today's entry in the Operation Migration Field Journal or go to the Birding Community E-Bulletin.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:18 pm

It's Thursday, January 8th 2009 and the cranes are stalled in Alabama because of the weather and the winds. They may fly tomorrow though.

There are several posts in the Field Journal. One is about visiting schools to educate the kids about the Whooping cranes and the migration project.

There is also an update on the status of the eastern migratory population. And a chart that explains which agencies take care of the various phases of the Whooping crane recovery project - i.e., the breeding,incubation,hatching and rearing of the crane chicks is done at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland and the migration is done by Operation Migration, etc.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:28 pm

The cranes are flying today - Friday January 9th, 2009. They're on the way to the next stop in Lowndes County Alabama, unless they decide to fly an extra stop.

Here's the Field Journal. There should be an update later and an entry from the lead pilot.

There are also photos from the visit to the classroom yesterday - of Bev and Brook (one of the pilots). And also a couple of photos of the threatening skies the other day in the Photo Journal.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby lardheppus » Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:41 pm

Does the weakening of the endangered species act mean that soon we'll be able to go to BK and order a whooper? :lol:
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:57 pm

lardheppus wrote:Does the weakening of the endangered species act mean that soon we'll be able to go to BK and order a whooper? :lol:


A Bush supporter. Hmmm...I didn't know there were so many on TDP.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:08 pm

The Capital Times has a good article about Sen. Russ Feingold and Cong. Tammy Baldwin reintroducing a bill that would save endangered crane species.

Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and Rep. Tammy Baldwin have reintroduced a bill that would assist the recovery of several endangered crane species.

The bill passed the House of Representatives and Senate Environment and Public Works committee last year but stalled before Senate action.

The bipartisan bill would establish a grant program to fund international and domestic crane conservation projects...


Unfortunately there are comments from people like lardheppus that criticize them for doing this. People who are uneducated about the damage the humans have done to cranes.

The Whooping crane was nearly extinct, but is being saved by the Operation Migration project. There were no Whooping cranes in the wild here in Wisconsin for many years, because people nearly wiped them out. Not they are living in the wild again. I saw a few up at Necedah last year. They are beautiful birds. I would urge everyone to go there next summer - or to go to the International Crane Foundation where you can see several species of cranes and learn more about them.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby lardheppus » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:23 pm

Genie wrote:There were no Whooping cranes in the wild here in Wisconsin for many years, because people nearly wiped them out. Not they are living in the wild again. I saw a few up at Necedah last year. They are beautiful birds. I would urge everyone to go there next summer - or to go to the International Crane Foundation where you can see several species of cranes and learn more about them.


Does the international Crane Foundation website have recipes?
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:47 pm

lardheppus wrote:...


Nothing to say, as usual. :lol:
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby lardheppus » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:53 pm

I'm betting they're a lot like duck. Roast in a 350 oven for 20 minutes a pound, basting frequently, and serve with an orange sauce and rice pilaf.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:02 am

And for anyone who is interested in the Whooping crane migration, there is a post from the lead pilot, Richard van Heuvelen, for the flight on Friday January 9th, 2009. He talks about having to scout out a new pensite the day before, and about the long and arduous experience they had getting the birds there. The headwinds were stronger than expected and 7 of them had to be crated and driven to the new site.

Here is the Field Journal for anyone who wants to read the full account.
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby lardheppus » Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:07 am

Genie wrote:The headwinds were stronger than expected and 7 of them had to be crated and driven to the new site.


Wouldn't it have been a lot quicker and easier to just crate them all and ship them to Florida using UPS? The only problem with doing that is the ultralight pilots wouldn't be able to ask for donations to subsidize their hobby. :wink:
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Genie » Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:38 am

lardheppus wrote:
Genie wrote:The headwinds were stronger than expected and 7 of them had to be crated and driven to the new site.


Wouldn't it have been a lot quicker and easier to just crate them all and ship them to Florida using UPS? The only problem with doing that is the ultralight pilots wouldn't be able to ask for donations to subsidize their hobby. :wink:


I suppose, but then the UPS driver would be asking for "donations."
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Re: Whooping Crane Migration

Postby Nick Berigan » Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:38 am

The ICF does a lot of really good work. My partner has used their resources to connect kids in China with kids in her Mandarin class here at Memorial.

Here's a fun picture of a celebration of cranes in Shenyang.

http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/AroundTheWorld/popup?id=6617823&contentIndex=1&page=4&start=false
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